UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Illegal and unreported fishing : global analysis of incentives and a case study estimating illegal and unreported catches from India Ganapathiraju, Pramod


Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been identified as one of the important drivers affecting sustainable management of fish stocks worldwide. Although, Governments have initiated regulations and institutions to address these concerns, over the years little progress has been achieved in controlling drivers of illegal fishing. In the post UNCLOS era, countries adopting progressive laws like the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, FAO Compliance Agreement and FAO International Plan of Action on IUU fishing have not backed them up with adequate monitoring and surveillance assets, leading to low compliance. Most countries within the new legal framework lack adequate institutional and enforcement infrastructure to improve fisheries compliance. The thesis employs three approaches to identify and evaluate the drivers of illegal and unreported fishing worldwide. First, a case study approach using a questionnaire was used to determine adequacy of monitoring control and surveillance in fisheries of 41 countries. Results demonstrate that monitoring control and surveillance is poor, with both developing and developed countries having problems in this area. The second approach used 1211 illegal fishing penalty cases in 109 countries to show that low penalties provide economic incentives for IUU fishing to persist in many EEZs. Finally, a detailed case study of the Indian EEZ exemplifies the problems of developing countries by evaluating various stages where illegal and unreported catches occur in commercial and small-scale fisheries. The study found evidence of serious decline in mesh size in several net fisheries. Significant evidence of the abuse of joint venture tuna fisheries also reveals that only 20% of the actual catch is reported; with unreported by-catch as large as the actual tuna catch. Results from each of the maritime states in India (including the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands) reveal that 45000 to 60000 tonnes is taken annually by illegal foreign fishing vessels, while 1.2 million tonnes of discards and 293,000 tonnes remain unreported in the small-scale and commercial trawl fisheries.

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